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Care of the Caregiver

Just getting through the holiday season is enough for some people to feel exhausted  by now. If we add on the extra stress of also being a caregiver these people can be experiencing overwhelm in many areas of their lives.

Caregiver burnout is always an issue that needs to be addressed. Often this group is notorious for taking care of everybody but themselves. Starting the new year is a great time to reassess how we care for ourselves and keep up our energy and spirits

AARP recently had a great article about coping with the challenges of caregiving. I will share some of those pointers starting with some statistics about how caregiver stress can affect your total health:

  • Thirty-six percent of family caregivers characterize their situation as highly stressful, according to the “Caregiving in the U.S. 2020” report from AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC).
  • Since 2015, when AARP and NAC last conducted the national survey, the proportion of caregivers describing their health as excellent or very good has dropped from 48 percent to 41 percent.
  • A November 2021 study from insurance firm Genworth found that 42 percent of family caregivers experience depression, mood swings or resentment as a result of their labors. Thirty percent reported sleep deprivation, and 43 percent said caregiving responsibilities have negatively affected their relationship with a spouse or partner.

Coping with Caregiver Stress

  • Take a break. Even a 10 minute walk can be refreshing. Ask someone to relieve you for a chance to go for a mealor movie.
  • Look into respite care. I wrote about this in a previous blog. Look into the  National Respite Locator. This resource can help you find; adult day care centers and home care services in your area. Of course, I recommend Catalina In-Home Services, Inc.!
  • Use online help.  I mentioned a few links previously in this blog.  Never underestimate the efficiency of “putting it in Google. Connect you with your local Area Agency on Aging, which can guide you to resources in your community to help you deal with the challenges you are facing.
  • Support groups can help you with strategies, resources and empathy.
  • Hang out with positive people. Let their enthusiasm and energy guide and support you.
  • Take care of your own health and make sure you’re getting enough sleep and eating right.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, Give yourself permission to get the support you need. Many times the main reason we don’t take care of ourselves is that we are not used to putting ourselves as a priority. Remember, you can only give as much as you have. Keep that glass filled.  Also, the person you are caring for will be grateful to see you coping and not wearing down because of what you need to do for them.